OFFICIAL: Holtmann named Head Basketball Coach at DePaul

Former BIG EAST Coach of the Year, Chris Holtmann, has been named as the next head coach for DePaul men’s basketball, as announced by Vice President and Director of Athletics DeWayne Peevy Thursday afternoon.

Details regarding an official introductory press conference will be made available as they are finalized. 

“After an extensive national search, I am proud to welcome Chris Holtmann to Chicago and our Blue Demon family,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics DeWayne Peevy. “Chris’ track record as a head coach of high-level programs, demonstrated commitment to excellence on and off the court, and NCAA postseason experience made him the perfect hire for DePaul. Chris unmistakably shares our values and our vision for DePaul men’s basketball, recognizes our commitment to the resources required to compete at a high level, and is eager to return our program to national prominence.”

“I’m thankful for the counsel and support of President Rob Manuel throughout this process. Glenn Sugiyama and the staff at DHR Global were also crucial in helping us navigate the logistics of a national search in an incredibly efficient manner.”

Holtmann brings over 25 years of coaching experience to Lincoln Park, including 13 as head coach where he has amassed a 251-170 (.596) record and eight postseason appearances. Holtmann had an exceptional stretch of 9-straight 20-win seasons and 8-straight NCAA appearances, including five most recently at Ohio State where he tallied a 137-86 (.617) record. Holtmann is a two-time Naismith National Coach of the Year Award Finalist and three-time conference Coach of the Year, including 2017 BIG EAST Coach of the Year.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Chris to the DePaul community,” said DePaul University President Robert L. Manuel. “Chris has been successful in the BIG EAST and created a national presence for his teams. His accomplishments will enhance our reputation as a nationally recognized academic institution, promoting world-class educational opportunities for all our students.”

The 2018 Big Ten Coach of the Year, Holtmann led an immediate rebuild and resurgence of the Buckeyes squad where he would go on to lead Ohio State to five tournaments in his first five seasons. Over the course of his tenure, Ohio State spent 63 weeks in the AP Top 25 and had five-straight 20-win seasons. In Holtmann’s first season, the Buckeyes were picked no better than 11th in the preseason polls. Ohio State stormed out to a 9-0 Big Ten record before finishing second place in the league. Under Holtmann’s tutelage, Keita Bates-Diop was named Big Ten Player of the Year.

“I am very excited about this opportunity to be the head men’s basketball coach at DePaul,” said Holtmann. “During this process, I was extremely impressed with the commitment, eagerness and vision of DeWayne Peevy and President Manuel to build a successful BIG EAST basketball program. My wife, Lori, and our daughter, Nora, look forward to getting to Chicago and spending time in the DePaul community. We can’t wait to get to work!”

Following the departure of an experienced squad, Holtmann displayed his recruiting expertise and led a young team to their second-consecutive Second Round appearance in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Ohio State was poised for a strong postseason run in 2019-20 after putting together a 21-10 record that included wins over four top-10 opponents and four eventual conference champions, before the season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Buckeyes climbed to as high as No. 2 in the polls after an 11-1 start to the season.

In 2020-21, Holtmann was named a Naismith National Coach of the Year finalist after leading the Buckeyes to another 20-win season and the championship game of the 2021 Big Ten Tournament. The Buckeyes national prominence continued in 2021-22 as the Buckeye staff guided E.J. Liddell to a consensus All-America selection and Malaki Branham to become the eighth Ohio State player to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors and first round NBA Draft pick.  

Prior to Ohio State, Holtmann spent three seasons (2014-17) at the helm of the Butler program where he led the Bulldogs to 22 or more wins in each season and secured a NCAA Tournament win. With a 70-31 (.693) overall record, Holtmann won 34 conference games, never finishing below fourth in the league standings. His 12 conference wins in 2014-15 and 2016-17 remain the most by Butler since joining the BIG EAST. In his final season in Indianapolis, the Bulldogs advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2011. In 2015-16, Butler ranked in the Top 25 nationally, scoring 79.9 points per game.

Holtmann is one of only two coaches in Butler history to lead the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament in each of his first three seasons and was also named a finalist for the 2017 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award.

Holtmann spent the 2013-14 season as an assistant coach for the Bulldogs before being named interim head coach in October 2014 and being elevated to head coach in January 2015.

Prior to his time at Butler, Holtmann served as the head coach at Gardner-Webb for three seasons where he led the Runnin’ Bulldogs to a school Division 1 record 21 victories in his final season after taking over a program that won just eight games in 2009-10. In his last season at Gardner-Webb, Holtmann garnered Big South Conference and NABC District 3 Coach of the Year accolades.

Before becoming a head coach, Holtmann served two seasons as an assistant coach at Ohio University and five seasons on the staff at Gardner-Webb.

Holtmann, from Nicholasville, Ky., was an NAIA All-American guard at Taylor University, helping guide the Trojans to a 25-9 record, a No. 1 national ranking and a berth in the NAIA National Tournament in 1993-94. After his playing days, Holtmann spent the 1997-98 season as a graduate assistant at Taylor and the 1998-99 season as an assistant at Geneva College before returning to Taylor as an assistant coach under Paul Patterson from 1999-2003. In his last two seasons as an assistant at his alma mater, Holtmann helped lead the Trojans to a 50-16 record, back-to-back conference titles and a ranking in the Top 15 nationally.

Holtmann earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Taylor in 1994 and a master’s degree in athletic administration from Ball State in 2000. He and his wife, Lori, have one daughter, Nora.

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